Wednesday Oct 7th 2009

osama imagesHour One: "Was Jefferson right when he said bankers were more dangerous than a standing army?" Thom challenges Dan Gainor on the  GOP health care plan

Hour Two: What happens if oil is no longer priced in dollars - is the dollar dying? with Robert Fisk &

Hour Three: "Everything You Know is Osama bin Laden dead or alive?" Thom chats with David Ray Griffin


kathy (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Osama bin Laden dead or alive is a hugely important topic. I applaud your courage for taking it on, there are very few in the media who will.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

I watched a television commercial yesterday featuring a white female doctor (or someone playing a doctor), warning rather stridently against the government coming between you and your doctor. Apparently it never occurred to her to ask her patients if insurance companies were blocking their access to her, or maybe she is concerned about the possibility that she will not be able to make as much money as she would like if cost-reducing competition forces her to work harder at coming up with correct diagnoses, instead of piling on excessive costs for patients through needless procedures that insurance companies will not pay for. It is rather amazing that there is this disconnect between doctors and patients in regard to the effect of excessive costs.

It seems that this doctor doesn’t have the “socialist”—i.e. Utopian—tendencies that women are supposed to have, according to Thom yesterday. I have to admit that since I’ve never felt the need to be married, and don’t at present feel the necessity to impress a woman, I don’t understand the need to patronize them, since we are all supposed to be equal. Of course not everyone is treated equally equal, but in this country women are only marginally less guilty of perpetrating this as men (the increasing gender gap favoring women in access to higher education is a case in point). Now that I'm on a trouble-making roll, I will go on to say that I find it rather intriguing that anyone would believe that women in power are naturally disposed to “socialist” tendencies; if they are, it only extends amongst themselves. It is my experience that the old cliché that women can be your best friend or your worst enemy is often true; there is not much in the way of “in-between.” Tyranny goes hand-in-hand with compassion (of a sort). The personal seems more important than the universal; when one speaks of “brotherhood”—at least in the way it was understood since the 1960s—it has a universal connotation encompassing all people. This is not true of “sisterhood,” which deliberately means to exclude men from the conversation. One may quibble about whether or not women were part of the universal equation before suffrage, but there is no doubt that women are just as discriminatory—if not more so—as men are in establishing their own peculiar cliques. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I think, when all is said and done, that it is a fragile pedestal that we put women on when it is argued that they are more wired for peace and harmony than men.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Also in regard to something else Thom talked about yesterday, it seems to me that it is far too late for the U.S. to change course in Afghanistan, exchanging bullets for butter. We simply have lost all credibility with the Afghan people. China, which has no record of making war on weak countries in far away places, instead goes to South America and Africa to finance roads, schools and hospitals to facilitate access to resources. Of course China's motivation is cynical and greedy, but it is no more so than the U.S. is, and at least contributes something of use to the native people in return. The U.S. has had only blood on its hands anywhere it has gone in the recent past.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago


Betsy McCaughey finally met her match on MSNBC's "Morning Meeting." It's great to see someone insist that she "answer the question!" (Plus Rep. Anthony Weiner, one of my heroes in the healthcare debate, helps.)


Tonight, Keith Olbermann will devote the entire hour of "Countdown" to a "Special Comment" on healthcare in this country and what Americans can do to improve the legislative outcome in congress.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

What if Osama bin Laden died in December 2001?

Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?
by David Ray Griffin

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago


If we don't have a boogey man, we MIGHT have to rethink our policies. (Naw, that would never work --- we have too many defense contractors to support!)

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Re: Boogey Man
If the information is manufactured, then is it a war crime?
Of course we will never know, because so many of the public could never handle the truth. Somehow, we believe that the lower classes are capable of horrendous crimes, but never the upper classes, thus never members of our government.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Interesting NYTimes piece in today's business section talks about Bruce Bartlett's criticism of today's Republican Party. (Mr. Bartlett has worked for Jack Kemp and Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He has been a fellow at the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.)

“So much of what passes for conservatism today is just pure partisan opposition,” Mr. Bartlett says. “It’s not conservative at all.”

DDay (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago


Re: Another development of interest on MSNBC's "Morning Meeting"

Dylan Ratigan, host of the aforementioned program, although often bombastic and apparently in love with the sound of his own voice, has recently displayed signs of an awakening dissatisfaction with right-wing mouth pieces and perhaps some progressive impulses. Monday morning he coined the phrase "Corporate Communism" to describe our financial and insurance industries in the U.S. All the money going to a few, artificially constrained market places, corruption, uncompetitive practices, etc. This must be seen as a positive development when a business centric reporter is willing to speak this type of heresy to the "free marketers". MSNBC is becoming the lefts' new think tank. "Corporate Communism" works for me as a potent label, if not as a socially responsible business model.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago


Re: Somehow, we believe that the lower classes are capable of horrendous crimes, but never the upper classes, thus never members of our government.

It's easier to be a crook if you have "the face of an angel." Besides, to question the motives and actions of upper classes and members of the government goes against so much of the propaganda with which we have been indoctrinated since birth (unless you're part of the "secessionist" movement!)

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

I think so many of humanity's problems are the result of malfunctioning and less evolved brains.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Good God, my last post sounds like I'm arguing for eugenics. That's not it. I just wish there was a way to help our fellow humans to have more compassion for one-and-other, as previous posts this week have opined.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

So the right wants to warn us about bureaucrats coming between patients & doctors, eh? OK - let's talk ...

I've been going to a doctor who had been running his own, independent practice for about 10 years. His office was run so efficiently that he was once featured on the cover of a publication named "Medical Business" magazine. However, with the proliferation of insurance providers, etc, it has become more & more difficult for the guy to continue on his own, so he has finally joined up with a large, multi-practice medical group, and moved into an office with 3 other doctors.

Apparently, in the paper shufffle involved with moving and integrating his patient base with that of his new partners, the papers to get this doctor, at his new address, to accept MY insurance, never got pushed. All the other doctors in his new office are in my PPO, but my doctor somehow isn't. So, when I went to see him in the new office a couple months ago, and they asked for my insurance info, the folks at that office said "Yes, we take this insurance," but the insurance company turned the claim down. Next time I went to that office, I brought the claim rejection paperwork with me & asked what was up. I was told that they would deal with the issue.

Here's how the problem was finally resolved - the fee for that one visit was waived, and a note was placed in my account stating that I'm NO LONGER ALLOWED to see MY doctor. If I want to go to that office now, I must see one of the other guys.

So I don't need government bureaucrats to come between me & my doctor ... privately-employed bureaucrats are doing a fine job of that already.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

@Quark - "Somehow, we believe that the lower classes are capable of horrendous crimes, but never the upper classes, thus never members of our government."

Please remember that, according to the C-street gang, "conventional morality" - and apparently, conventional law as well - is not applicable to those in power.

This is essentially an extension of the Nixon doctrine - If a person of power runs afoul of cultural norms, or the law, then obviously it's the norms or the law that's wrong!

Allison (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

In regard to your comment about switching to a credit union, I can wholeheartedly say it's been a breath of fresh air for us after switching from Bank of America to Unitus Credit Union here in Portland. The credit union seems to operate with the best interest of its customers as its fundamental policy. The bank exists solely to make money off its customers. That dynamic alone creates a wildly different approach to customer service.
Just my observation.

lbarton99 (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Re. the banking issue & credit unions, I belong to probably the largest entertainment industry credit union on the west coast and I have been charged very high fees. The only difference between the credit union and the banks (I have accounts with regular banks too) is the amount of the fees they charge. My credit union charges $22 for non sufficiient funds where the big banks charge anywhere from $33-40/incident.

My situation, I live about 20 miles from the nearest office for my credit union and my husband's job won't do direct deposit. That 20 mile drive will typically in LA traffic take about an hour. So i have to depost at a "partner / co-op" credit union in the area. The problem is they put an 11 day hold on my husband's payroll checks. The only way this can be removed is by sending a fax to my credit union with the a copy of the pay stub attached. They credit union I make my deposits charge a $3 fee to fax. To save the $3/week ($156/year) fax charge, I have to send the fax myself and wait. If in the hours I'm waiting for my credit union to remove the hold a transaction tries to go through and i don't have enough to cover it before the hold is removed, I get charged a $22 NSF fee. Crazy. In the past 6 weeks I've been hit w/ more than $130 in charges. I was able to get $44 credited back.

the credit unions are robbing us too, they're just not ripping us off as much as the big banks are and that's the only difference.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Re: Money

I suspect the real purpose of creating Federal Reserve money over a barter system is to insure the payment of interest in the form of taxes.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Re: Credit Unions

Our local credit union uses the banking fees to establish their rates, thus there is no fee savings for the credit union member.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

A War of Absurdity
By Robert Scheer

Every once in a while, a statistic just jumps out at you in a way that makes everything else you hear on a subject seem beside the point, if not downright absurd. That was my reaction to the recent statement of the president’s national security adviser, former Marine Gen. James Jones, concerning the size of the terrorist threat from Afghanistan:

“The al-Qaida presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies.”

Less than 100! And he is basing his conservative estimate on the best intelligence data available to our government. That means that al-Qaida, for all practical purposes, does not exist in Afghanistan—so why are we having a big debate about sending even more troops to fight an enemy that has relocated elsewhere?

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Thom, could you do more programs on our war in Afghanistan. Perhaps you could be directive on most effective ways to protest. Please let us know when and where to write letters and also start asking your Washington connections to do a lot more reporting on it? Thank you.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

David Ray Griffin spent his professional career (probably decades) on "Process Theology" which is basically making excuses for why the world is so screwed up if the God of the Bible exists. But of course, he insists that God exists.

Based on what he spent his career on I'm not impressed by his intellectual prowess.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

@DRichards -

Al Qaida is not the only hostile presence in Afghanistan. There is also the Taliban to consider, who are far friendlier to Al Qaida than to the US, or to the wants/needs of the Afghani people.

The way I look at it, though, our current presence in Afgnanistan is a consequence of the Pottery Barn rule - we broke it, so now it's ours. We "secretly" helped them to drive the Soviets out, then walked away, leaving behind a perfect recipe for a failed state. We should not be surprised that this is how things developed.

Ronald Ray-gun did NOT single-handedly bring the Soviet Union to it's knees - The Afghani people lent a big hand in that endeavor. We obviously owe them something for that. The question is whether the currency we owe them is American Blood. I think not - I don't even think that's what they want! I think what we owe them is an infrastructure in which they can begin to build a sustainable nation for themselves.

brian a. hayes (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

as progressives we need to define what being a progressive means. why am i a progressive? i believe in the power of the people to direct their lives as the see fit. i want my government to protect its citizens from corporate greed ,anger and folly i can see a world without nuclear weapons. i can see peace in the middle east. as a progressive i live my life with total freedom that we the people can create the change , we need to see.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

@brian a. hayes -

I think that you try to live your life much as I do - I try to live AS IF the world was already the place that I'd like it to be. However, I also realize that its NOT!

Maybe you can see a nuke-free world with a middle east free of conflict, but I think that even you must agree that we ain't there yet. I also want our government to protect its citizens from corporate greed, anger and folly - but I think that it's more important that our government protect us from those who define us as "the infidel", and therefore feel the need to eliminate as many of us from the planet as possible - and have the ability to do so.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Is Mullah Omar dead? Bush didn't find him either.

Riki (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Hey Thom here its a video show how easy to manipulate a Bin Laden Video

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Re: our current presence in Afgnanistan is a consequence of the Pottery Barn rule – we broke it, so now it’s ours.

I did not brake it, nor did my children. It seems to me that who ever broke it, should be individually held responsible. But then again, that's not going to happen because "Somehow, we believe that the lower classes are capable of horrendous crimes, but never the upper classes, thus never members of our government."

It also seems to me that these sociopaths know full well in advance that if they break, "we" will have to stay and fix it. It's a win-win situation for them.

Tim (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

I love the Thom program. Feels like a Mensa meeting with fart jokes.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

I don't know if Osama bin Laden is dead or alive, but let's not forget that David Ray Griffin has a stake in proving him dead and debunking the bin Laden "confession tape".

Griffin has spent much of his decade promoting the "9/11 was an inside job" theory. If bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks and confessed to that fact Griffin's reputation and revenue stream would both dwindle.

Another one of Thom's favorite writers Matt Taibbi wrote an article in Rolling Stone about why he doubts the credibility of the "9/11 Truth" movement. He doesn't challenge the individual claims and "facts". What he does is show is all the things that would have to be true for such an inside job to take place and be covered up and suggest it's unlikely such a conspiracy could be pulled off.

It's worth a read:

JohnnyO (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

President Obama needs a runaway truck ramp to stop the so called war machine.

Dissident priest (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

I have not used the banking industry in 10 years. I think it is absurd to pay some one to store my money, then lend my money; to in return, make a tidy profit for themselves, off of my money, and then only give me ~3%. Absurd!

Not to plug for them too hard . . .but there is a company (FDIC insured) called Netspend. They have a savings plan that has a 5% return interest and other features; a nice alternative.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Benazir Bhotto's comment about the man who assassinated was probably a misstatement. Bhutto said that Omar Sheik killed bin Laden. Omar Sheik killed the journalist Daniel Pearl. And although Thom enthusiastically responded to the caller's mention of Bhutto's comment, it is in contradiction to the claim by David Ray Griffin (that Thom seemed to embrace) that bin Laden died of kidney failure. But who knows, maybe Omar Sheik shot bin Laden in the kidney. Hey, I think I solved the problem. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Dissident priest (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Money seems to be more an equation of value/time. If you want to call that function labor . . .I guess. I wrote a blog about this in the community section about 2 months ago entitled "The Illusion of Money". The piece tries to outline the change of money from a consistent means of equalizing a trade imbalance (very specific, fixed purpose), to an abstract being exchanged for an abstract. I wonder if it is still there . . .?

brian a. hayes (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

mistaggerlee the problem is fundamentalism in all religions i see just as much of a problem from fundamentalist Christianity as i do fundamentalist Islam

Quark (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago


Your story about your doctor is a perfect example of why life in these United States is such a nightmare, and becoming more so. When one can't expect that rationality would be the "default position" in our daily lives, one is left to question why he/she should trust the veracity of almost anything.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 37 weeks ago

Let me say that Ibelieve Osama bin Laden is dead. He was gravely ill in 2001 and he cannot just miraculously be healthy.

The theory that I have why we start wars every so often is to test our research on the weaponry that has been developed from one war tp the next.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

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Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies."
Paul Hawken, coauthor of Natural Capitalism and author of The Ecology of Commerce
From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While
From Screwed:
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